Saturday Sophie and I volunteered to canvass for Obama, and although she had to work Sunday, I went back and volunteered again. This close to the election, all the effort is directed at getting out the vote, so we were visiting households already identified as favoring Obama or at least leaning that way. Even so, it was kind of a revelation to us. These were overwhelmingly white neighborhoods we were in. Most of the people we saw were elderly – just the kind of Democrats who were supposed to be pissed off because Hilary didn’t get the nomination. And yet we repeatedly heard things like “Oh, yes, I’m voting for Obama. Yes, I know where the polling place is. I never miss an election.” Or as one old guy said, “Well, I guess I’ll vote for him. I’m sure as hell not voting for a Republican!”
Considering all the right-wing rants I read in the call-in column in the local paper, it restores my faith in my fellow man to find out that there really are Democrats in Southeast Missouri. These people live in modest homes in middle-class neighborhoods; a lot of them are retired, and living on fixed incomes, and they clearly see that Obama is the candidate with their economic interests at heart. I don’t think the Bradley effect is happening here; they weren’t trying to tell me what I wanted to hear, while secretly planning to vote for the white guy. The few people we ran into who seemed like they opposed him on racial grounds were pretty openly hostile. Ironically, those few were in the poorest neighborhoods, and had the most to lose from a continuation of trickle-down economics.
Missouri overall leans slightly toward McCain, and this part of the state is strongly Republican. However, if we can get about 40% of the vote in this region, the strongly Democratic populations of St. Louis and Kansas City can put Missouri in the Obama column. The last time I actively worked for a presidential candidate was when Bill Clinton ran the first time, and I think there’s even more enthusiasm for Obama this year than there was for Clinton in 1992. Even out in the boonies where we live, there are Obama supporters – Obama yard signs in Fruitland! On highway Y! At the livestock auction yard on highway C!
The national polls and electoral maps look good. Still, I’m anxious. As one of Cabell’s friends blogged, “”I feel like it’s Christmas Eve, only with the suspense of wondering whether Santa is going to bring me a pony or set my house on fire.”